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Wuerrtembergische gains A- rating


Rating agency A.M. Best Co. has assigned a financial strength rating of A- to Wuerttembergische Versicherung A.G. of Germany. The outlook on both ratings is stable.

The Oldwick, New Jersey-based agency said that the ratings reflect the company's "excellent" business profile in the German market and stable earnings, despite accelerating competition in Germany and improving risk-adjusted capitalization.

It said that the rating also factors A.M. Best's view of the financial strength of the parent company, Wüstenrot & Württembergische A.G., and takes into account management's efforts to improve consolidated earnings and risk management.

WüerttVers improved its position in the German market through its recent acquisition of Karlsruher Versicherung.

A.M. Best expects gross premiums written to steadily grow by 1%-2% to €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) in 2007, mainly driven by rating increases in the London market—where it has an operation—that will offset a decline in premiums in Germany because of strong competition. The group's position will also be helped by the cancellation of inadequately priced business.

The U.K. branch generated gross premiums written of roughly €275 million ($366.4 million) in 2006, that comprised mainly of property, financial institutions, professional indemnity, marine and aviation.